LIVE REVIEW: Joe McElderry: Driving Home For Christmas, The Customs House, South Shields

FESTIVE SPIRIT ... Joe McElderry performed a special Christmas gig at the Customs House, in South Shields. Inset, he surprised his fans by inviting Lola Saunders onto the stage. Pictures by David Wright Images.
FESTIVE SPIRIT ... Joe McElderry performed a special Christmas gig at the Customs House, in South Shields. Inset, he surprised his fans by inviting Lola Saunders onto the stage. Pictures by David Wright Images.
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IT may still be November, but everyone who was at Joe McElderry’s Christmas gig is no doubt well and truly in the Christmas spirit.

The X Factor and Popstar to Operastar champ treated a sell-out crowd in his home town to a special Driving Home For Christmas gig.

SURPRISE DUET ... Joe McElderry invited Lola Saunders on stage as a special guest at his Driving Home For Christmas show at the Customs House, in South Shields. Pictures by David Wright Images.

SURPRISE DUET ... Joe McElderry invited Lola Saunders on stage as a special guest at his Driving Home For Christmas show at the Customs House, in South Shields. Pictures by David Wright Images.

The stage was dusted with fake snow and Christmas decorations set the tone perfectly – the staging was simply gorgeous.

Joe’s entrance was preceded by a slideshow made up of childhood pictures and a video of him singing Away In A Manger as a youngster, before he walked out on stage to take over.

The 23-year-old, of Westoe, South Shields, looked dapper in skinny jeans and a blazer as he worked his way through festive tracks like White Christmas, When A Child Is Born and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.

Accompanied by musicians on a grand piano and an acoustic guitar, as well as backing tracks, Joe gave stunning renditions of Sting’s Englishman In New York, Driving Home For Christmas, and Mary’s Boy Child.

Fans were also treated to album tracks, including How We Love, Ambitions and Until The Stars Run Out.

A screen behind Joe displaying graphics, home movies and pictures from his childhood was a fantastic touch and looked brilliant.

A big moment came when Joe surprised his fans by inviting X Factor finalist Lola Saunders onto the stage.

Lola gave a beautiful and emotional performance of John Lennon’s Imagine before the pair sang a duet with Wham’s Last Christmas.

Lola oozed confidence and the pair sounded lovely together – it was clear they were having a great time, and so were we.

As always, Joe played a game he calls Jukebox Joe, were he takes requests from the audience to sing excerpts of songs.

It saw him sing the likes of Over The Rainbow, Don’t Stop Believing, Dance With My Father and Nessun Dorma, all of which were performed beautifully.

Joe closed the show with a cover of Happy and his X Factor winning single, The Climb, which was a bit of a tearjerker.

The gig was a real festive treat and it’s definitely got me in the spirit.

Can I put the tree up yet?

Twitter: @ShieldsGazVicki